In my column for the National Post, I explain how Stephen Harper is successfully governing Canada:
Under Stephen Harper, Canada can fairly claim to be the best-governed country among advanced democracies in the world. Thursday's federal budget locks up Canada's lead.
Right now, the major economies share a common economic problem: With the world slowly and fitfully emerging from the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, they must begin to plan to reduce their debt burdens - but not so fast that they crush demand and abort the recovery. The United Kingdom exemplifies the dangers of moving too fast: your recovery falters.
The United States exemplifies the risks of moving too slow: The inability of its political system to agree on any plan to balance the budget has cost the world's biggest economy its Triple-A credit rating.
Canada has been seeking to move at a pace that's just right - and with the 2012 budget, Canada continues to succeed. Barring an unexpected slump into renewed recession, Thursday's budget moves Canada to budget balance over the next three years. There will be no tax increases. Federal spending growth will be restrained, but outlays will still rise: from $272.9 billion in the year just ended to a projected $296.6 billion in 2015-2016.
This "steady as she goes" course has disappointed some. The Edmonton Sun denounced the budget as "Trudeauesque."
Such an assessment is upsidedown. Trudeau's budgeting was notorious for its recklessness. Harper's budgeting is impeccable in its caution. By 2015-2016, Canada will have reduced both spending and debt to prerecession levels. Nobody else on Earth will be able to say anything like that.